For those of you who figured something was up when Phil Coke was named to start today’s season finale, you were right. After Jim Leyland said earlier this month that he was still unsure whether Coke was better suited as a starter or a reliever, Leyland said Sunday morning, “My intention is to have Phil Coke in the rotation.”
Coke will slot in behind Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Leyland said Armando Galarraga will compete for the fifth spot in a mix that could include some youngsters and maybe a free-agent pickup. He didn’t name Andy Oliver, but one would presume he’ll be a key figure. He did not name Jeremy Bonderman, either, which means we’re probably going to get some news on Bonderman from team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski later today.
Sunday will mark Coke’s first Major League start. He was most recently a starter at Double-A Trenton in 2008.